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A vow to quit

Annesha Chatterjee | New Delhi |

During a walk on the roof of the palace with Birbal, Akbar once saw an ass grazing through a grassland of tobacco plants, without consuming. Birbal, Akbar knew, was in the habit of chewing tobacco. He then remarked, “Even an ass does not touch tobacco.” Birbal smiled respectfully. “No, Your Majesty,” he replied, “no one who is an ass touches tobacco.”’

The above narrative has been an excerpt from a poster. Such illustrations are often seen in smoking rooms and places.

In 1920, a team of German scientists discovered the relation between smoking and bronchial carcinoma, a concept that was more scientifically proven by the British scientists in 1950. Cigarette smoke contains over 48,000 chemicals, a high percentage of which are alarmingly cancerous. Ammonia, stearic acid, cadmium, methane, paint, methanol, carbon, arsenic, butane, hexamine, are few examples of this.

World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) observed every year on 31 May, since 1987, aims to free the world of this deadly ailment, cancer. It is intended to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the globe. The day is further intended to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to negative health effects.

Over 3800 teenagers and adults, each day, try smoking for the first time, and over 100 of them retain the habit. These obviously suicidal tendencies settle as diseases in the lungs of people who may not ever even have touched a cigarette, let alone smoked one. Six million deaths occur every year as a consequence, of which, 8, 00, 000 are charted to be passive smokers. Calculations explain that tobacco kills one person every 6.5 seconds.

Once at a tea stall, there was another poster that attempted to explain why this fraction of geniuses exists in our societies. It is the glimmer of accolades that seems to attract them (can’t really be blamed, can they?):

First Prize – Great Early Expiry (plus a free visit to the Pre-Creation World!)

Second Prize – Cancer (and the chance to touch the modern discoveries of Medicine!)

Third Prize -Tuberculosis (with sweetish pleasure of expectoration)

Forth Prize – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (with promises to make you the hub of everybody’s pity!)

Fifth Prize – Tear of Relatives (100 per cent cashback if found not salty)

Coordinator, Class X, Kalyani University Experimental High School